For those who don’t know, I live in California, and to make life easier on the fine folks at The Saratogian, I try to work as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, one can get burned doing that, as I did when news came out that Going for Broke, who would have been my best bet of the day, would scratch from the Summer Colony to await the Personal Ensign.
I can’t reflect that in the picks I already sent in, but I can address it here. That is convenient for me, because that huge departure from the feature makes the late Pick Four very, very interesting.
SATURDAY’S RESULTS: We had nothing around her in exactas or the late double, but Elate winning the Alabama at least meant a profit for the day (even if it was a marginal one). In total, our $40 investment returned $41.50.
SUNDAY’S PLAY: As I hinted, I’ll play the 50-cent late Pick Four (which begins in the seventh race), and my ticket does not include a single…well, single. To save space, I’ll only list numbers, not names: 1,10 with 8,9 with ALL with 4,6,7,14. Note that I’m not expecting #14 CONSUMERCONFIDENCE to run in the last given that he’s fourth on the AE list, but if he somehow draws in, I have to use him.
TOTAL WAGERED: $48
Best Bet: Going for Broke, Race 9
Longshot: Closing Statement, Race 6
LIGHTNING BUZZ: Has run second in back-to-back tries at this level, including one such effort earlier this meet. He took a step forward that day and would be tough to beat with continued progression; CANIFORM: Hasn’t run a bad race on dirt and makes his first start for Steve Asmussen, who’s strong with new acquisitions. There appears to be plenty of early speed signed on, which should help his late kick; SILVER ASSAULT: Drops way down the class ladder, which is a shock given his 2-year-old campaign. A return to that form would make him an easy winner, but this drop by a very patient trainer is a big red flag.
Air Vice Marshal
AIR VICE MARSHAL: Gets two turns for the first time in his North American career and may want such a route. He was a solid second last time out at Belmont and should be flying late; KANTUNE: Was taken out of his element earlier this meet and should be much closer to the pace today. Joel Rosario rode this one to a win two back, and he returns in this spot; MAMBO AT THE GYM: Was never involved last time out, but that was a bizarre race with a runaway early leader. His effort two back at Belmont was solid. DIRT SELECTIONS: KRANJI, BATTLE MIDWAY, HOLLOW POINT.
COMPLICIT: Stepped up to run a good second last time out in a race she may have needed. Of the few races a number of these come out of, that one seems to be the most impressive; MAGICAL SKY: Hasn’t done much wrong in two starts and ran well late to finish third earlier in the meet. The faster they go early on, the better this one will likely finish; SILVER SHAKER: Ran third in the race my top pick exits and stepped forward off a disappointing debut in the process. Javier Castellano signs on in this spot. DIRT SELECTIONS: TAPELLA, TIZ SUPER, BOGULATOR.
FORTUITOUS PATH: Has spent most of his career running against substantially better horses and drops way down the class ladder for aggressive connections. This doesn’t appear to be a very imposing spot for the level, and I think he wakes up; NONEEDTOFLATTERME: Is 2-for-2 going short on dirt, albeit against weaker foes. He ran a nice race here earlier in the meet, and if that day’s runner-up runs well in today’s opener, it bodes well; PIRELLONE: Is wheeled back pretty quickly after a third-place finish at this level. He hasn’t won in a while, but he’s already run well twice at this meet.
Indy Union (MTO)
FOOLS GOLD: Fetched $425k at auction earlier this year and is bred to go long. None of the ones that have run before impress me much, so I’ll focus on first-time starters; WEALTH EFFECT: Hails from the same barn as my top pick and is also well-bred. The far outside post isn’t ideal, but these connections can never be ignored with a blue-blooded, first-time starter; PASS IT ON: Has worked pretty well of late here and is another bred to do her best running on the lawn. This barn’s horses sometimes need a race, but she can’t be ignored in the exotics. DIRT SELECTIONS: INDY UNION, WEALTH EFFECT, MAD DOG MATTERS.
PURRFECT MISS: Was a close second at big odds in her debut, and that race seems far superior to anything any of the other ones with experience in here have run. Improvement is logical at second asking, and she’s worked well since her unveiling; CLOSING STATEMENT: Is bred to be a real runner. Her dam was a multiple Grade 1 winner, and this one’s work tab is consistent; COACH ROCKS: Fetched $95k at auction earlier this year and has worked pretty well since shipping here last month. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because she may want to go much longer.
Heavy Meddle (MTO)
New York’s Finest
NEW YORK’S FINEST: Is 2-for-2 at this route, and both wins came by daylight. He does step up in class here, but he’s done nothing wrong going short at the Spa and could be good enough to beat these; WICKED MACHO: Did everything but win in his turf debut last time out. He showed a new dimension that day, and he’ll be a formidable foe; GEHRIG: Has not won since late-2015, but his last two races were pretty sharp. I hesitate to back horses like this on top, but he can’t be ignored if you’re playing vertical exotics. DIRT SELECTIONS: HEAVY MEDDLE, JEWEL CAN DISCO, MACHO MIAH.
LILLIE’S ANSWER: Drops down in class and has yet to run a bad race since being claimed by Mike Maker late last year. She beat similar company earlier this year at Gulfstream, and her usual race would make her tough; MAGICIAN’S VANITY: Was a good second at this level earlier in the meet behind a horse that got loose on the lead. She beat the rest of that field by daylight and could find this to be a softer spot; CINDER: Merits a look at a price if she draws in off the AE list. She had a lousy trip last time out, and she has prior races that show she can contend with this group. DIRT SELECTIONS: ROMANTIC MUSIC, BLUEGRASS HIP HOP, CINCY BELLE.
Going for Broke
GOING FOR BROKE: Ran a huge race in her seasonal debut, which came going shorter than she wants to run. She was beaten just a neck by the ultra-classy Carina Mia that day, and she should step forward second off the bench and going her preferred distance; VERVE’S TALE: Doesn’t win much, but has been running against top-class competition this year. She could appreciate the shallower waters, although this is far from an easy spot; BLUE PRIZE: Adds blinkers following a pair of strange trips in both North American starts to date. She’s never been out of the exacta in six career starts and won a Group 1 event in her native Argentina.
CONSUMERCONFIDENCE: Needs a lot of luck to draw in from deep on the AE list, but will be tough to beat if he does. He aired at this route earlier in the meet, and it’s not like there’s much to be afraid of here in his first start against winners; STORMIN MACLEAN: Exits a key race where the top three finishers all came back to win at next asking. He was claimed by Linda Rice that day, and few are better than her at getting new acquisitions cranked at next asking; OUTRAGEOUS BET: Drops back into claiming company after finding the allowance ranks a bit too tough. His effort two back was very strong, and a repeat of that race would make him a contender here.